December 2008


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Tim Yandow <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Thu, 11 Dec 2008 20:23:35 -0500
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Can someone explain to me how a Salamander can exacerbate moisture issues
during dry out? Is this a problem with dense pack as well? What would be a
better way to provide heat for drywall and painting after insulation
installation than space heaters?
Tim Yandow

> The borates seemed to work fine in the cellulose - there was no
> mold in the it. Moisture had condensed on the back of the
> Typar. Too much moisture in the application, extra moisture
> introduced by space heaters, interior walls left open too long
> meaning to help it dry, winter conditions promoting
> condensation, Typar creating issues? Any or all are options,
> but no one seems to be able to pinpoint one cause or whether it
> was a combination of all. NuWool was the brand and I understand
> it is the good stuff. The installation installer has since sold
> his business and vanished. The builder was one of the best in
> the business. Walls were left open for several months (now one
> reputable local installer is saying to close the walls in
> within a week). Salamanders were used because no one said not
> to. Probably a combination of a number of things except poor
> construction. Lots of people chipped in to help fix the
> problem, but it still cost the builder. Fortunately the
> homeowner was understanding, but until it is established
> exactly why it happened it is an experiment I don't intend to
> repeat.
> Bill
> Robert Riversong wrote: --- On Thu,
> 12/11/08, William C Badger AIA wrote: Interesting
> material. Has anyone in the group tried it and does anyone locally
> install it? We tried damp applied cellulose in a new house a couple of
> years ago with disastrous results. Black mold grew on the outside of the
> plywood sheathing and the back side of the Typar house wrap. The siding
> had to be stripped off and things dried out. A series of unusual
> circumstances that created a perfect storm?
> The mold on your plywood sheathing may have been encouraged by poor
> installation practice or too quick a close-in of the walls, but likely
> had other contributing factors. Kiln-dried lumber is
> milled at 19% moisture content by weight and it takes a new house a full
> year to completely dry to a stable level. Modern cellulose installation
> techniques require very little added water, and the walls should always
> be left open from 1 to 3 days following application.
> Running salamander-type temporary construction heaters only puts more
> moisture into the indoor environment. Cellulose has been successfully
> installed in northern climates without a vapor barrier (as long as there
> is good air sealing), and applying a plastic vapor barrier and closing in
> the wall before dry-out will almost certainly create a mold problem.
> The brand of cellulose, also, makes a big difference. Only
> those, like National Fiber, who use EPA-certified fungicides can
> guarantee no mold problems. If wall plate penetrations
> in the top and bottom plates are not properly sealed, this could create a
> significant source of moisture in the wall cavities. My
> guess is that you had a "perfect storm" caused perhaps by poor quality
> materials, poor installation technique, and inappropriate construction
> practices. Don't blame the cellulose - there is no better insulation on
> the market.